As all good things must, the documentary series Union with David Olusoga came to an end this week. If you missed it get thee to BBC iPlayer pronto.

The historian and writer who made the hugely popular A House Through Time, which traced the history of a single building through its inhabitants, has had a thorough look around the United Kingdom and discovered the rising damp and dodgy window seals, as well as some good bits.

In the closing minutes Olusoga did that thing historians always do: leave the viewer with a list of questions to ponder.

“Have we simply been through too much together,” he askedas scenes of blitzed buildings from the Second World War appeared on a screen. “Been united for too long, have too much in common for us to separate? Or in such a changed world are the forces that always pulled against the idea of Union simply becoming too strong?”

I had a few questions of my own. Why did I know so embarrassingly little about my own country’s past? How was it possible that vast swathes of information, whole ice sheets of events and theories, had somehow passed me by? In such a state of ignorance could I even call myself Scottish at all? I could probably pass a test of Britishness, but if I went on Mastermind it could get very embarrassing.

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Similar doubts had surfaced before. They went unanswered because there never seemed the time to have a proper dig. Something else came along, another gap in knowledge to be plugged before a looming deadline. That old saw about goldfish having short memories is a myth, but it holds true for journalists, or this one anyway.

I could blame school. I did history at O level and Higher and do not recall being taught anything about Scotland. The French revolution, the American revolution, the Russian revolution, the 1832 Reform Act, the Peterloo massacre, Disraeli and Gladstone - you name it, we were taught it.

But Scotland? Radio silence. Particularly the recent history. Anything that could be deemed politically contentious, I imagined being locked away in some Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse. Was that where the subject of the Act of Union was stashed, for example, alongside other forbidden fare such as women’s suffrage, or Scotland’s role in the slave trade and the British empire in general? Maybe they only let you have the strong stuff at university.

Whenever I asked another Scot of my generation or older, what their experience of school had been it was always the same. They could not remember being taught a thing about their own history.

Was it by accident or design that Scotland had been written out of our history books? And was this Bermuda Triangle of knowledge to be found everywhere in Scotland, just the central belt, public and private school, good school and bad?

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Whatever the answers it did not seem to matter much, at least initially. I was also in that generation that moved to London for work because there were no jobs here (and because we thought it would be more fun, let’s be honest). In London you were simply Scottish, largely classless and fancy-free, until it was time to go home for Hogmanay when you just had to get there for the bells or ruin beckoned. The knowledge gap soon made itself evident on moving back to Scotland after many years away. I had all the building blocks of Scottishness. The accent. The teeth. My God the teeth. For long stretches I’d bumble along, careful to maintain cover, but then something would trip me up, usually pronunciation. Milngavie was fine, everyone knew that, but Gigha sent me sprawling.

Geography in general was a bust, and there was no end of gaps in my knowledge of literature, music, history, food, pretty much everything. By now I was older, wiser, and could buy or borrow my way out of ignorance if I chose. Tom Devine took up residence on the bookshelves and has never left, as did the classics (hello at last Sunset Song), books on art and guides to Burns. Google made everyone an instant expert on everything, and of course, there was television and film.

It was the latter, largely in the form of Braveheart, that showed me I was not alone in my ignorance of Scottish history. Even though its flaws were woefully evident, from Mel Gibson’s accent onwards, this was the closest some had ever come to seeing Scotland’s history laid out in an entertaining way.

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We knew a lot of Braveheart was mince, but it felt like our mince. No wonder Scottish audiences fell on it like ravenous wolves. We added what we learned to the creation myth, the story we told ourselves about how we came to be. More additions were made, among them a reconvened Scottish Parliament, and before you knew it the weans in the street could give you chapter and verse on what made Scotland a nation in its own right, one that could stand alone if it chose.

It was here that things became complicated and messy. If you know your history, to paraphrase Mr Bob Marley, then you would know where you are coming from and want Scotland to be independent. But if you take a different view of that history, staying in the Union seems a better option.

So here we are, a country and a people with enough in our history, and to our name in general, to keep the idea of independence bubbling. Parties may come and go, but those polls showing the country split down the middle on independence are hanging around. History matters. It is far from the only thing, but it counts.

It is not the best of times to be arguing the case for knowing your history. One look at the news would have you conclude there is too much history around, too many versions of the past endlessly competing with each other and repeating themselves.

But there is much to be gained from sharing a past, and from knowing your Act of Union from your elbow. All we need now is David Olusoga to come along with another series to answer the questions he has raised and a few dozen more besides. Are you up for it, David?